Despite never having had the chance to compete for a title within Cambodia, Eh Amarin Phuthong, the son of Kun Khmer legend Eh Phuthong – a man once described as “Cambodia’s Muhammed Ali” – has claimed an Australian Kun Khmer title.
His brother Eh Virak Kham Chhit Phuthong, better known as Moeun Mekhea (Ten Thousand Skies), was also able to secure a belt at the November 5 Kun Khmer Super Fight event, although their compatriot Pich Sambath was unable to find a way to victory, losing to a Thai boxer.
The Melbourne event was the first to promote the Kingdom’s unique martial art down under. It was promoted by the Kun Khmer Super Fight Club, in partnership with Australian event management firm Best of the Best.
Amarin was matched up against Australia’s Clinton Corke, who holds the Rise Promotion’s kickboxing belt in the 66kg class.
Building on a solid performance in the first two rounds, and directed by the constant input of his famous father, who acted as his corner man, the deadly elbows of the Khmer fighter found a way through the Australian’s defences. By round three, Corke was bleeding heavily from a broken nose and a wide cut to his left eyebrow.
Despite the referee calling for a ring-side medic to inspect the damage on two separate occasions, veteran fighter Corke showed the courage of a warrior and fought on.
It was all for nought, as the Cambodian continued to land a flurry of ruthless shots, forcing the referee to stop the match and declare him the winner before the end of the third round.
Amarin shed tears of delight as he accepted his first ever Kun Khmer belt.
He was also awarded a brand-new pickup truck by sponsors Ganzberg, worth about $40,000, for the swiftest victory at the Australian event.
Moeun Mekhea – who replaced Lon Panha at the event – defeated strong Australian fighter Cian Lougheed in a narrow points decision to claim the 65kg belt, while Sambath lost to Thai kickboxer Tum Kitti Patkam in the 60kg class.
Eh Phuthong expressed his pride in his sons’ Australian victories.
Through the Super Fight club, which sent the delegation to the event, he described Amarin’s win in detail.
“Victory came through the elbow of Kun Khmer. We were able to strike him so effectively that even though we were unable to score a knockout, the referee was forced to stop the match. The title – and my son’s new car – are his because of elbow strikes,” he said.
“From outside the ring I was sharing tactics to Amarin. Once he had opened a few cuts, I told him to focus on the left-hand side of Corke’s face. He was examined twice by the medic, so I knew we had a good chance of ending the match that way. He was a very strong fighter, and I did not think the KO was coming,” he added.
He not only praised Corke’s strength and resilience, but that of Lougheed, who was covered in his own blood – but still standing – by the end of his bout with Moeun Mekhea. He also expressed his admiration for Tum Kitti Patkam, who defeated Sambath.
“It was not just Ammarin’s opponent who was tough and solid; almost every match up was like this. All of tonight’s opponents were strong fighters, both physically and in terms of skill,” added the legend.